Real Estate and Social Impact

Real Estate and Opportunities for Commercial Development:  The interesting aspect of Andrew’s real estate career is that he was born and raised in Eastern Pennsylvania near Philadelphia (ask him if he grew up near Doylestown).  While at Pitt Business, he started to see potential in Pittsburgh’s real estate market, which has led him to build a large portfolio of apartment buildings and commercial properties in the North Side, the South Hills, Moon Township (near the airport) and the West End (among others).  Given what you know about local real estate in an area that you are familiar with, which specific neighborhoods would you target for your portfolio (i.e. what is the commercial potential?)   

For Montgomery County, there are numerous areas of development across multiple variances of homes. The first neighborhood that comes to mind is called “Crown,” which is a development that includes a supermarket, numerous restaurants, and other businesses. In the surrounding areas, there is the development of townhouses and suburban communities. This area is ideal as it sits next to two urban hubs, The Rio and Crown, with easy access to the interstate for commuters. In addition, the town where I went to high school, is currently experiencing suburbanization. These properties would also be essential for my portfolio as the budding development and well-known high school are both incentives for people to move. These houses are also considerably less expensive than in other areas of the county, which impacts profit but acts as another incentive for buyers. 

The Social Impact of Real Estate: In addition to the commercial opportunities in the Pittsburgh real estate market, Andrew also emphasizes that real estate has tremendous potential to generate a positive social impact by supporting a stock of good quality apartments at affordable prices – with an emphasis on supporting financial literacy among his tenants.  Based on the area you wrote about above, which neighborhoods that you know of could benefit from this combination of good quality apartments with reasonable rent (plus an attention to financial literacy)? 

As a general concept, the positive social impact of this affordable housing is best suited in low-income communities. In Montgomery County, there are several areas where affordable housing would make a positive social impact by increasing the standard of living for residents in these communities. Silver Spring and Wheaton districts both stood out when I analyzed crime data for Montgomery County last year. The concentration of crime in these areas could be indicative of more low-income communities. As a result, affordable housing options and financial literacy would increase the standard of living in these areas and may even draw business to stimulate the local economy. 

Other Examples Like This?:  Based on your review of real estate as an area for opportunities in commercial development and social impact, how do you see real estate being relevant in the work you want to do in the future?

Real estate could play a role in the work I want to do in the future, specifically regarding governmental programs for a positive social impact. This not only includes affordable housing, but also the real estate background to devise locations for community centers and parks, both of which are government run. Real estate is essentially the foundation of the programs I’m looking to create in the future.